- Name your business: Now that you've determined the type of food business you’d like to start, you need to choose your business name, along with a possible logo and website. . When naming your business, keep in mind that the name should be web-friendly. It should be unique but easy to remember.
- Pick a niche: Determine the type of cuisine, service, or convenience that you’d like to offer. This decision should be based on your market research.
- Create a menu: Create a menu that is informed by your market research and the types of customers you’d like to serve. Consider how you will source the food products needed and the wait time for the food. You may want to create a consistent menu or a seasonal menu.
- Online presence: Purchase your business’ domain name and web hosting. Utilize a website and social media to inform and attract customers, or if you sell a physical product, you can also expand your sales beyond your local community.
There are plenty of educational resources to help you build the skill sets and support system to become a successful entrepreneur and business owner.
Drexel University recently launched a post-baccalaureate Certificate Program in Food Innovation & Entrepreneurship! Industry experts within both Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions and Drexel University's Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship will teach you all the steps to conceptualize, design and launch a food product that is competitive in the food marketplace. This program is 100% online and open to anyone, not just current Drexel students.
- Penn State Department of Food Science: offers short courses and workshops in HACCP plans, better processing, and food microbiology.
- The Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University: offers programs for early-stage entrepreneurs and existing food companies in business, marketing, food safety, and product design.
- The US Small Business Administration: provides educational guides and funding programs for people planning to start a small business.
- The Enterprise Center: provides consulting services and finance solutions to small business owners.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan will help you understand what you need to get started. You can access a guide for writing your business plan on SBA's website.
Business Plan Templates
Operating resources: Think about what it will take to run the business each day. Will you need employees? What will the hours of the business be? Will you close for weekends and holidays?
Overall market plan: This section should answer questions like: Who are the target customers for the business? Are there any businesses providing the same service that might be in competition with your business? Would a particular location in the city be important for your business to succeed?
Cost and sales structure: Each product you sell costs something to make, and each service you provide takes staff time. Carefully calculate your costs so that you know how much you need to charge customers in order to make money.
Financial management and business growth: Using your estimates of what it will cost to open your business, operate, do marketing, and sell to customers, calculate how much money you need to start. Keep in mind that there may be a gap in time between when you start on the path to opening your business and when you receive the first profits. Have a plan to help finance your business and consider reaching out to a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which will provide credit and financial services to entrepreneurs. A business plan is required if applying for funding through a bank.
Every business needs a way to get customers. Write about how you plan to advertise and sell your goods. Make sure to note what those marketing and sales activities will cost and how long they will take.
Understand start up costs: The key to a successful business is preparation. Before your business opens its doors, you’ll have bills to pay. Understanding your expenses will help you launch successfully.